Vikram & Betaal.

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Outline of the story

King Vikramaditya, in order to fulfill a vow to a sadhu, was required to remove a corpse possessed by a betaal from a tree and carry it on his shoulder to the pyre where the sadhu was performing a yagna. The condition was that, King Vikramaditya had to bring the betaal without uttering a word, otherwise the betaal would fly back to the tree with the corpse. The king can be quiet only if he did not know the answer, else his head would burst into a thousand pieces. Image Courtesy: www.wordpress.com

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Outline of the story
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King Vikramaditya

In days gone by, Vikramaditya, a great king ruled over a prosperous kingdom from his capital at Ujjain. King Vikramaditya attended his court every day, rewarding the virtuous, punishing the evil doers, and encouraging scholars, poets, musicians, and artists. During such sessions, numerous people came to meet him. They brought gifts of jewels, gold or other precious things. Image Courtesy: www.exoticindia.fr

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King Vikramaditya
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Task for the king

Among such visitors was a sadhu who, on every visit, presented the king with a fruit. The fruit contained a ruby, the finest the king had seen. The king asked the sadhu why he was being so kind to him. The sadhu said that he wanted a task from the king as it required someone like King Vikramaditya, who had courage and bravery. The king must meet him under the Banyan tree in the center of the cremation ground beyond the city, at night. Image Courtesy: www.youtube.com

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Task for the king
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Off to the grounds

The spirit of adventure got the better of Vikramaditya. He agreed to meet the sadhu at the appointed hour. It was a dark night with a terrible wind blowing. As he made his way through the ground, he saw the fearful faces of ghosts staring at him or dancing around him. Image Courtesy: www.youtube.com

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Off to the grounds
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The Task

Brave Vikramaditya reached the banyan tree. The sadhu told him to go to the northern most corner of the ground where stood a very ancient tree. The king had to get the corpse hanging from one of its branches and bring it to the sadhu. Image Courtesy: www.youtube.com

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The Task
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Betaal speaks

King Vikramaditya braved the weather and the darkness, as well as the yells and shrieks of the ghosts and soon reached the old tree. He climbed the tree and took down the corpse. He had gone only a few steps when the possessed corpse, said: "O King, tiresome is the way. Let me tell you a tale to keep you amused." Image Courtesy: www.youtube.com

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Betaal speaks
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Question & answer

With each tale came a question and unfortunately, the king discovered that he knew the answer to every question; therefore the cycle of getting the corpse from the tree and letting the betaal escape with it continues for twenty-four times. Image Courtesy: www.youtube.com

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Question & answer
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Sadhu's objective

On the twenty-fifth attempt, the betaal allows itself to be taken to the sadhu. When the pyre of the cremation ground was in sight, Betaal told King Vikramaditya that the sadhu was planning to kill you. If the sadhu would ask the king to bow to the flames and if the king did so, the sadhu will behead him. The betaal suggests that the king ask the sadhu to show him how to bow, as he being king had never bowed to anyone. Then taking advantage of that moment to behead the sadhu. Image Courtesy: www.youtube.com

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Sadhu's objective
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Sadhu is killed

The Sadhu performed some Tantric rites. After finishing everything he asked King Vikramaditya to bow to the flames. The king remembered Betaal's instruction. He said - "I am a king, I do not bow to anybody. If I must do so, teach me how". The sadhu bent down before the king to show him how. Quickly, King Vikramaditya cut his neck with his sword. The evil sadhu was dead. Image Courtesy: visualphotos.com

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Sadhu is killed
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Happily ever after

Then there was a loud laughter and behold! Betaal was no longer a corpse but a handsome young man. Vikramaditya asked him to come and stay with him and be his minister. Betaal explained that the sadhu had changed him into Betaal and if he had sacrificed King Vikramaditya he would have become powerful enough to rule the world. King Vikramaditya returned to the palace and ruled the kingdom happily with the help of Betaal. Image Courtesy: www.wordpress.com

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Happily ever after
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